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Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2007 Apr;8(2):112-8.

Impaired interhemispheric inhibition in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Laboratory of Electromyography and Clinical Neurophysiology, Aeginition Hospital, University of Athens, Greece.


The pathogenesis of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) remains unknown. Neurophysiological studies provide evidence of hyperexcitability of the motor cortex or of impairment of inhibitory intrahemispheric modulation of the corticomotoneuron in ALS. In this paper, we used TMS to elicit transcallosal inhibition of the motor cortex in ALS patients in order to investigate whether interhemispheric inhibitory mechanisms subserved by callosal fibres are also disturbed in ALS. Twenty-five patients with ALS and 18 controls were recruited for the study. Resting Motor Threshold (RMT), Silent Period (SP) and interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) were recorded. No significant difference was detected regarding RMT or the duration of SP between patients and controls. IHI was detected in all controls. IHI was totally absent in eight patients, in another eight patients IHI did not reach a significant level and in the remaining nine patients was normal. The degree of IHI was significantly lower in ALS patients than in controls (p = 0.001). In conclusion, altered IHI in ALS patients is in line with the general pattern of reduced corticomotoneuron inhibition, being thus, one of the factors which may lead to chronic overexcitation of pyramidal cells.

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